The wine world became a smaller place last night.
One of its foremost KOLs left us.
Steven Spurrier was a giant who inspired wine lovers, wine professionals, winegrowers, and wine owners from every corner of the world.
The Englishman was knowledegable, generous, encouraging, enthusiastic, but most of all, curious.
It was that curiosity that made him knowledgeable, generous, encouraging, and enthusiastic.
One time in Hong Kong for Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Hayato Kojima and myself were conducting a seminar and tasting of Koshu. We invited several other DAWA judges to join the participants. Steven was the only one who accepted our invitation. He was that curious about wine, any wine. The participants were thrilled someone of his stature shared their interest.
My two favourite wine books are WINE by Hugh Johnson and French Country Wine by Spurrier.
Thanks to Steven, I was introduced to Gros Plant du Nantais and other obscure sub-regional wines of France. Brimming with irrepressible personality, I tracked the wines down like a hound on a hot scent.
I had read French Country Wine* when at university.
Later, when I decided to write about wine full-time, I met both Hugh and Steven – separately – and we became friends.
French Country Wines – now out of print – was dedicated to Digby
Steven Spurrier at L’Academie du Vin in 1975
(PHOTO BY WATFORD/MIRRORPIX/MIRRORPIX VIA GETTY IMAGES)
Launching his autobiography A Life in Wine in India. You can purchase the book at https://academieduvinlibrary.com/product/steven-spurrier-a-life-in-wine/
The first time Steven and I met was in L’Academie du Vin in Paris.
The Englishman had founded the same in 1973 which went on to host the now historic Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976 between California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon against Burgundy and Bordeaux respectively.
On another occasion Steven and I lunched in a restaurant inside Galerie de la Madeleine which is near the Academie.
Half-way through lunch, who should walk in but the model Ines de la Fressange with a male friend and her large dog.
Nancy Gilchrist MW and CH’NG Poh Tiong with Steven at Imperial Treasure London on 4 December 2018
A more recent lunch was in London with Nancy Gilchrist MW at Imperial Treasure. Steven and I met to catch up and to introduce Nancy to me. The three of us were also discussing a project.
People only die if no one remembers them.
In Steven Spurrier’s case, that would be impossible.
His achievements are too numerous and, luckily for us, there is Cloud which will store them all up there for history and posterity.
There is another reason why Steven will live forever.
No one wants to forget an inspiring, encouraging, generous, kind, helpful soul.
*Steven was particularly proud he dedicated French Country Wine to Digby, the first time a book on wine was dedicated to a dog.